I have been overwhelmed for a decade. Like many undercurrents in nature, charted and understood by meteorologists, my overwhelm is known to me and therefore I’ve been able to scheme up ways to bury this overwhelm below my surface. In some ways, it’s fueled me to keep going, flowing in unison with my surface current, moving forward. At other times, my undercurrent of overwhelm is more like an undertow: without proper technique, breaking away is nearly impossible.
I haven’t mastered this technique just yet, but I’m working on it. What I now recognize are my patterns: taking on more than I can successfully chew, but in the name of my ego, I press on to prove that I can. I don’t ask for help, rather I do it all myself because then I know it’s “done right.”
Well, I do believe it’s time to move past the step of identifying this pattern. How do I actively combat this overwhelm?
Let’s go 180 on this way of thinking that hasn’t served me. Identified today as: to set rigid guidelines, be hard on myself, play within my own made up rulebook based on urgent deadlines.
When I conceived of “Let’s Go 180,” I declared “I will support 180 people in 180 days!” I liked the way it sounded and my intention has always been that it would happen this way. I’m examining this because as launch day zeroes in, the declaration feels like a cage.
180s are fueled by the heart. The heart speaks so loudly that the brain has no choice but to listen.
I decided on this project as a way to live differently, with more freedom, to be curious and of course, to have fun with it. In the blink of a breakdown this week, the project became another bucket added to the carrying pole across my shoulders.
I’m writing this post because I didn’t want to admit to being overwhelmed by my own passion project. It made me question why I was doing this project at all. Truth be told, I’m psyched about the adventures and possibilities of the project. While I believe it’s completely possible for me to support 180 people in 180 days, “Let’s Go 180” cannot be about accruing numbers. I get to breathe, connect and reflect. The giving will be not be oppressively regimented. There will be constant content and 180s depicted, but maybe it’s only one each week. I choose to see this as a way to regularly check in and stay balanced. I will give as I make space to honor myself and my own process.
I’m also asking for support. I’ll be adding an Acknowledgement tab to this site so I can recognize those who are working with me to create this content and for the angels of 180. I took a page from my scrummaster book and thought about what my “MVP” (minimum viable product) might be and from there, what things do I do to make sure it’s met and what things could someone else do to support me. For example, I’m not a video editor. Even iMovie takes me forever. I could learn iMovie or Final Cut and maybe I will, but for now, the 180 for me is to ask someone who loves it do it to support me with it.
This brings me to share these concise learnings to watch that your undercurrent doesn’t go undertow:
Recognize patterns and understand when the outcome results in stress
List options for how to neutralize the stress and pick the option that gives you a sense of “ahhh that’s doable,” but still carries healthy tension (it feels like a stretch so you’re still motivated to make it happen)
At the first signs of overwhelm, seek support. Take a page from the scrummaster book and outline exactly what is needed and delegate what isn’t absolutely necessary that you do yourself (and remember, you make the rule on this one, how tough do you need to be on you?)
Acknowledge those who step up to support you. Make sure that you communicate it in a way that they understand what it means to you.
Acknowledge yourself for all you’ve accomplished and especially in creating a team who sings your rally song.